NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. (AP) — Rutgers University has banned fraternity and sorority house parties at its main campus for the rest of the spring semester in response to several alcohol-related incidents, including the death of a student last September.

The probation was decided last week but announced by the university Monday.

Caitlyn Kovacs, 19 and a Rutgers University sophomore, died in an alcohol-related incident at a fraternity party last September. (YouTube)

"Rutgers takes seriously its commitment to maintaining a healthy and safe campus environment," the university said in a statement.

Under the ban, the university's 86 recognized fraternities and sororities will be allowed to hold spring formals and other events where third-party vendors serve alcohol.

Last month, a fraternity was shut down because of an underage drinking incident in November in which a member of Sigma Phi Epsilon was taken to a hospital after drinking heavily at the fraternity house.

And in September, a 19-year-old student died of alcohol poisoning after attending a fraternity party. It's not clear whether she had been drinking there or elsewhere, though. Middlesex County said the student, Caitlyn Kovacs died from “acute ethanol toxicity” and ruled her death was accidental.

The university said last month that six fraternities and one sorority are under review for alcohol violations.

The ban comes at a time when fraternities have had a run of bad publicity.

At the University of Oklahoma, fraternity members were caught on video singing a racist song; investigators have been looking into allegations that a Penn State fraternity had a private Facebook group with pictures of nude and partially nude women, some of them asleep or unconscious; there have been allegations that members of a Dartmouth fraternity were being branded in a hazing ritual; and two organizations at North Carolina State have been shut down, one over a sexist and racist book, another over sexual assault allegations.

Erin Kearns, president of the Rutgers Panhellenic Association, a governing body for sororities, told NJ.com, that many leaders of Greek groups accept the house party ban in light of the negative attention at Rutgers and elsewhere.

"Our advisers and administration thought it would be best that Rutgers doesn't fall into that trap," she said.

 

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